Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Dunmurry woman reaches the North Pole

IT MAY have been a bit nippy here recently, but a former Dunmurry woman knows what cold is all about after becoming the only woman in a team of five to reach the North Pole last week.

Wendy Kidd was quite literally on top of the world on April 21 when she and a team which included deaf people, reached the North Pole in just 15 days - three days ahead of schedule.

Wendy (26), who now lives in Scotland, returned on Sunday from the National Deaf Children's Society's challenge.  

She was the only female in the team of five travelling across the surface of the Arctic Ocean between Latitude 89N and the Geographic North Pole at 90N known as the 'Last Degree.'

The team travelled on skis across drifting sea ice and hostile wilderness whilst towing 40 kg of equipment and supplies.

Wendy has already cycled 250km across Cambodia for the same charity five years ago, so when she heard of the challenge to the North Pole, she jumped at the chance.

Her six month training regime consisted of workouts to the gym to strengthen arms and legs. "My friends just thought that I was bonkers," said Wendy, a publicity consultant in the film industry who runs a company called No Kidding Ltd. I thought that you are going to do something for charity you might as well do something big. I am not sporty at all but once I put my mind to do something I do it. The training was gruelling but because I felt passionate about it and for a charity that is not so well known, it was well worth it. "

Among the problems she faced was the ice moving west, pressure ridges and towing sleighs weighing 40kg in temperatures as low as -35 degrees for up to eight hours a day. Her diet consisted of processed food, peanuts and five chocolate bars per day.

"There were times that it was so cold and you almost always had to be on the move because if you stood still at all it was difficult to get going again," said Wendy.

"It was challenging and difficult at times but fascinating and I have no regrets. It was strange to see light for 24 hours a day and we were the only people for hundreds of miles. It was a hair-raising journey as there was a very strong westerly drift. The wind was blowing as fast as we could walk so we were concerned that if we didn't make it that day, we wouldn't make it at all. We celebrated in our tents with hot drinks.

"When you reach the North Pole you are quite literally on top of the world. It was a huge sense of achievement."

Each participant raised 27,000 for the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS). Helen Lerwill, NDCS Head of Events explained: "NDCS is funded almost entirely through public donations so none of our work would be possible without the commitment of individuals like the North Pole expedition team.

Ulster Star